Scott Ritter update
Wednesday 4 October
I remember Scott Ritter from exposing the lie that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction (or still some chemicals).
I read up on his bio and can’t decide what to make of it (only a proficient conspiracy theorist might be able to make sense of it, but of course, that would lead to an unproven just so story that more likely than not would be wrong).
Long story short, Ritter is now touring Russia to sell his books. Still curious, I looked at his Twitter feed.
The first tweet was an almost totally unremarkable video summary of the elections in Slovakia, except that he seemed to be gloating at the prospect of “deep fractures in the actual unity of Europe”.
The second tweet was a repost of someone who suggests that, because Ukrainian SS'ers used an emblem largely based on the Ruthenian lion that Ukraine used since the Middle ages and still uses, Ukrainians are using unashamedly a Nazi flag.
Why would he repost that?
Subsequently a longer video, where he answers questions of people calling in or commenting.
In answer to a caller who wanted to know why people are so stupid (she probably meant: why people keep making the same mistakes) he said: “we need more people that are willing to listen and discern than people who are willing to speak and act”.
He argues that Armenia turning away from Russia toward the West (which is news to me, but possible I suppose) is 100% political suicide. Because, “hee Armenia, look at Ukraine, NATO helped Ukraine, that’s your future. If you don’t stick with Russia”. I myself don’t have an opinion on that. Not only do I lack facts, one fact does seem pretty clear: both Russia, the EU, and the US look pretty impotent in relation to Azerbaijan’s and Turkey’s ambitions.
A Dutch(!) viewer asks:
I can’t stop wondering what I would do if I were to be conscripted to fight the Russians. I’m leaning toward saving myself and surrendering to the Russians. I want to survive and take care of my family after the war. What is your opinion?
I know the Russians don’t want to hear this but... [laughs seemingly nervously] ... if I was Ukrainian I’d have to serve, because it is my country.
Do you think that Zelensky, an actor, was specifically chosen to be president of Ukraine during the provoked Russian invasion because the West knew that Ukraine was going to get slaughtered on the battlefield and need to put forward "convincing" propaganda to maintain support for any length of time? How long in advance was his rise planned?
... agent Zelensky... documentary ... I don’t believe it was because the West knew Ukraine was going to get slaughtered on the battlefield, I think it was because the West wanted a war and Zelensky was the guy to get it. He did so by running an campaign... look, his entire servant of the people TV series was a five year - I believe it was five seasons - psychological operation orchestrated by British intelligence and ... an oligarch... his whole goal was to go to war .... I think the West thought that economic sanctions would bring Russia to its knees... there is no doubt in my mind that the Zelensky plan has been years in the making.
So, that is weird. According to Ritter the West wanted war and thought that the war would end soon via economic sanctions (is there any historical precedent where economic sanctions actually worked? Certainly the sanctions of 2014 were a total failure).
Both those assertions are really weird. I suppose he wants me to watch his documentary to understand why he believes that...
He refers to his article “SCOTT RITTER: No 'End of History' in Ukraine”. It’s funny how everybody reads Fukuyama differently. Apart form the stab at Fukuyama the article tries to be an overview of the history of Ukraine that starts a bit before the Soviet-Union. If I want to know more about that I will read books by real historians.
He says he predicted the collapse of the Ukrainian army and says that it is happening.
He says England has nothing left to give? Where does that come from? (The video was posted 17 hours ago.)
He says Russia wants to plan to 2025 because the Russians still want to destroy the Nazis in Ukraine and to do that they need to occupy more of Ukraine.
He is not a Trump supporter? But he speaks about denazification as if it really needs to happen. (Also weird: every Ukrainian who would resist Russian occupation is a banderite? From Stepan Bandera. I had to look “banderite” up to see what the current status of the term is:
The term has been used by Russian state media against Euromaidan activists to associate a separate Ukrainian national identity with the most radical nationalists. Today, in Russian propaganda, the word is used to refer to all in Ukraine who back the idea of sovereignty from Russia; Ukrainian nationalist collaboration with Nazi Germany is also emphasized.
Skimming a few other tweets... 2 1/2 hours of my life wasted to find out where Scott Ritter stands. Probably not a good use of my time, though it was interesting to hear how convinced the callers where that their own favorite conspiracy theory was correct.
Ritter didn’t engage with all of it, denied a few points. But seems pretty far out himself nevertheless. He made a few predictions: Ukraine’s army will collapse, Russia will occupy more of Ukraine unless it will surrender.
Certainly not everything Ritter says is wrong. It’s probably two things that make him the wrong person to follow: (1) he is totally overconfident in his interpretation of the facts, while not showing much historical expertise (2) judging by his tweets, he sees evil people everywhere, and evil has to be combated (or at least harshly quote-tweeted or commented on) no matter what (in other words: no nuance to be found).
I remember Ritter as the man who stood up to the liars who started the Iraq war. I don’t know what to think of what he did between then and now. But now he’s not helping.
- Full quote: “What an interesting time it is. At a time when NATO, the US and the EU speak of unprecedented unity, we’re starting to see deep fractures in the actual unity of Europe.”
- This is somewhat embarrassing to me since I’m Dutch as well and while I’m not a big patriot, I certainly think my country is worth defending. If you think otherwise, why not leave?
Blog for current readings
Monday 2 October
I’ve started a blog with notes specifically on my current reading about the tendency of humans to hate the other, go to war and kill the other. It’s on my homepage: ＜https://keesboomsma.nl/notes/＞.
Monday 2 October
We zijn onschuldige toeschouwers
maar de acteurs spugen in het publiek.
Wie wil kan het podium beklimmen
om daar weer vanaf te worden geschopt.
Heaven and Hell: Possible in theory?
Monday 25 September
Contemplating fiction and virtual reality, this occurred to me: Heaven doesn’t have to be eternal. One day is sufficient. After the first blissful day passes, the individual in question only needs to be deleted during sleep (after a pleasant dream, perhaps?).
Another point I previously considered is that Heaven actually can’t be be eternal. People would need to be altered in such a way that they won’t go mad from boredom (for instance, by regularly modifying their memories) and would also need to be modified so that they can never do harm (because otherwise, Heaven wouldn’t be heavenly anymore). What remains then is no longer human. What is something with a fake memories and no free will? A robot?
But isn’t our memory already completely unreliable? And do we not already lack free will? The only difference is that we can do harm...
A few words on Nagorno-Karabakh
Monday 25 September
I´m reading The Psychology of Nationalism, by Joshua Searle-White, 2001. Not a great book, but still useful. As it happens, one of Searle-White’s two case studies, is Nagorno-Karabakh (the other is Sri Lanka).
I thought the following passage was illuminating:
... “Black January” is a national tragedy for the Azerbaijani people. On January 20, 1990, Soviet troops entered Baku, ostensibly to protect the Armenian population there. (Most of Baku’s substantial Armenian population had fled or been evacuated from Baku several days earlier after anti-Armenian rioting.) Instead of protecting anyone, the Soviet troops killed at least 130 Azerbaijanis and wounded many more.20 This event is now memorialized in “Martyr’s Lane,” an area on a hill on the south side of Baku. A long lane is flanked on each side by gravestones bearing the names, birthdates, and pictures of each of the Azerbaijanis killed on that day. The Azerbaijan government has subsequently added graves on each side of the lane for those who were killed in the war over Nagorno-Karabakh. At the end of the lane, on the site of a former Soviet monument, an eternal flame burns. Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, features a similar monument. It stands atop a hill with a commanding view of the city and is accompanied by a museum honoring the genocide of 1915. It too features an eternal flame, surrounded by obelisks that represent the various regions in which Armenians have traditionally lived. It is accompanied by a museum dedicated to honoring the victims of the massacres.
SW quotes at one point Ernest Becker:
Men try to qualify for eternalization by being clean and by cleansing the world around them of the evil, the dirty. . . . The highest heroism is the stamping out of those who are tainted.
We’ve all seen the videos of Azerbaijanis who destroyed every Armenians cross and tombstone they could find, in a great effort to try and erase every remaining sign that could remind them that Armenians lived there at one time. Perhaps this is also a not entirely conscious attempt to resolve the conflicting narratives that Armenians and Azerbaijani hold about the region by simply destroying the evidence.
I sometimes think something like: while there are many flawed individuals, at least collectively humanity makes some kind of progress. However, we’re also quite capable of acting like insane people collectively.
Cooperation and commitment to make things better
Friday 4 August
Cooperation and commitment to make things better for all of us, is that too much to ask? Unfortunately, yes. Too many of us want to hate, destroy, and take pleasure in the misery of others. Moreover, a significant number of individuals simply don't care about the consequences as long as they can satisfy their own desires.
For a while we were distracted. By optimism. We thought we could do better than our predecessors. However, that optimism was misguided. For a while things seemed to go in the right direction, but not because we were better. We just were lucky.
This pattern has occurred before when a combination of circumstances led to periods of peace and prosperity. Yet, circumstances change beyond our control, and now we realize the extent of our lack of control. Our societies are too complex, and there are too many bad or broken actors within them.
There will be no savior to rescue us from ourselves. The responsibility lies with us; we must save ourselves from our destructive tendencies. Can we stop hating? Can we stop wishing harm upon others? Can we care for people beyond our immediate circles? Can we understand that that wishing harm upon others is simply bad, because we are the other?
Thursday 20 July
I needed an clutter free online resource for stroke order of kanji/ hanji/ 漢字 that included less frequent characters. I couldn't find one so I made one: https://characterdb.ketmia.net/hitsujun/
I know that there are lots of other online resources for showing the stroke order of sinograms. Some of them are more useful than others. Most (probaly all) of them are incomplete with regard differences in stroke order according to region and writing style. Additionally, they explain often a rather limited number of sinograms.
KanjiStrokeOrders has the first two limitations as well (and might be less well maintained) but it does explain many more graphs (I counted 6612). I also happen to like the minimalist black and white single image with numbers style. If you know of a better resource, please let me know.
Meaning is felt
Friday 23 June
Meaning is felt when your friends or family value you even when things don’t go well or when they don’t agree with your beliefs or the choices you’ve made. Within limits of course. If you mass murder your class mates you’re on your own. Meaning is also felt when you are able to use your strengths to serve others. Or when you are able to lose your sense of self, in reflection, in nature, in work, in art, etc.
— Note made after reading an interview with Emily Esfahani Smith
Does chatGPT explain David Deutsch’s correctly?
Sunday 18 June
Explain the inductive method.
The inductive method is a logical reasoning process that involves deriving general principles or conclusions based on specific observations or evidence. It is a fundamental approach used in scientific inquiry and empirical research. The key idea behind the inductive method is that by observing and analyzing a specific set of examples or data, one can formulate a general principle or hypothesis that applies to a broader context.
The process of induction typically involves the following steps:
- Observation: Gathering specific data or evidence through direct observations or experiments.
- Pattern recognition: Identifying recurring patterns, similarities, or relationships among the observed data.
- Formulating a hypothesis: Developing a preliminary generalization or hypothesis that explains the observed patterns or relationships.
- Testing the hypothesis: Conducting further observations or experiments to gather additional data and evaluate the validity of the hypothesis.
- Drawing conclusions: Analyzing the accumulated evidence and drawing a general conclusion or principle that is consistent with the observed data.
- Verification: Subjecting the conclusion or principle to further testing, replication, or scrutiny to ensure its reliability and general applicability.
It's important to note that the inductive method does not guarantee absolute certainty or truth but rather aims to establish plausible explanations or generalizations based on available evidence. The strength of the inductive reasoning depends on the quality and representativeness of the observed data, the logical coherence of the hypothesis, and the degree of confirmation through repeated observations or experiments.
What would David Deutsch say about inductive reasoning?
David Deutsch, a theoretical physicist and philosopher, is known for his contributions to the field of quantum computation and his views on the philosophy of science. Deutsch has been critical of traditional inductive reasoning and has proposed an alternative approach called "fabric of reality."
According to Deutsch, traditional inductive reasoning, which involves drawing general conclusions from specific observations, is limited in its ability to provide true knowledge and explanations about the world. Deutsch argues that inductive reasoning is fundamentally flawed because it relies on the assumption that past observations can reliably predict future events. He believes that this approach is insufficient for understanding and explaining the complexities of the universe.
Instead, Deutsch proposes a more powerful and comprehensive approach that he calls "fabric of reality." This approach emphasizes the importance of explanatory knowledge and the creation of explanations or theories that have explanatory power and can make accurate predictions. Deutsch argues that the key to scientific progress is the creation and testing of theories that can explain and predict a wide range of phenomena.
Deutsch's view can be summarized as rejecting the idea that general principles can be derived solely from specific observations. Instead, he emphasizes the need for explanatory theories that can account for the observed data and make accurate predictions. His approach challenges the traditional reliance on induction and promotes a more nuanced understanding of scientific knowledge and explanation.
Does chatGPT explain David Deutsch’s correctly?
EU space program
Friday 16 June
The US got into trouble with their space program because the space shuttle proved unreliable and had to be stopped.
The EU gets into trouble with their space program because they stopped a rocket that was extremely reliable.
Wednesday 7 June
I wonder whether the characters for 瑪瑙 were chosen not only for their sound but also for their strokes, resembling somewhat the weird lines in agate... especially 瑙... I’m also tempted to read a word “horse brain”...
漢字 character sinogram Chinese
Aspects of polarization and debate
Wednesday 31 May
I really enjoyed reading a (very) short article by Sabrina Keinemans and Maja Ročak about how to talk to people who are unable to reason properly (my wording, not theirs) and thereby lessen the polarization. I’m not sure how effective their approach is. Perhaps it’ll prevent people that feel ignored to take a violent path. Or perhaps it’ll make an elite person realize that there are more sides to a problem than they were able to gather from other data. (The article is behind a paywal.)
An attempt to rephrase key points:
- rich people (by which I mean people that can afford to buy solar panels for example) may be inclined to pursue ideals in an abstract sense. On the other hand, less well off people may have not only less options but may also be affected in their well-being by certain policies that the rich folk may be able to push through (instead of a debate between people with different opinions a debate between people that live in different realities).
- ideally a debate is between people that know how to debate. People who keep their calm, try to address arguments made rationally. Perhaps even change their opinion based on new facts or arguments. However, most people are not equipped to debate in that way. They don’t keep their cool, may get really emotional because they feel threatened, may use arguments that are based on gut feelings... The authors think that it’s useful to make space for these passions, even when it gets ugly.
- lack of respect for people who feel threatened but do so on the basis of poor arguments that they can’t even formulate particularly well is really destructive.
- excluding people from the debate because they lack the skills to enter the debate properly will lead to more polarization.
Antillia and Saint Brendan
Friday 28 April
Christopher Columbus (Christophorus Columbus) assumed that the westward distance from Europe to Japan was much smaller than even his contemporaries thought. And this mistake should have killed him and all the people under his command. As we know the American continent saved him.
Simeon Netchev made a great map showing the differences between what Columbus thought he knew (including the fictional islands of Antillia and Saint Brendan) and the what was actually the case.
The Bible doesn’t condemn abortion
Monday 27 March
I listened to Bart Ehrman talking. He surprised me in asserting that the Bible doesn’t condemn abortion. In fact, according to Ehrman, the bible fairly explicitly states that the fetus is not human, and that abortion in the case of adultery is just fine. I can only assume that Christians base their claims on some ad hoc interpretation of other passages that don’t deal with abortion or the status of the fetus directly (and this seems to have happened relatively recently, if I understand Ehrman correctly). So, American Christians voted for the unbeliever Trump as a means to an end, but that end is not even based on doctrinal literalism but a on fanciful interpretation, a fiction about a fiction. Religion is weird, but it has real world consequences.
Russian scientist Dmitri Belyaev
Tuesday 14 March
The speed at which genetic evolution can occur is best illustrated by an extraordinary study by Dmitri Belyaev, a Soviet scientist who had been demoted in 1948 for his belief in Mendelian genetics. (Soviet morality required the belief that traits acquired during one’s lifetime could be passed on to one’s children.)
Belyaev moved to a Siberian research institute, where he decided to test his ideas by conducting a simple breeding experiment with foxes. Rather than selecting foxes based on the quality of their pelts, as fox breeders would normally do, he selected them for tameness.
Whichever fox pups were least fearful of humans were bred to create the next generation. Within just a few generations the foxes became tamer. But more important, after nine generations, novel traits began to appear in a few of the pups, and they were largely the same ones that distinguish dogs from wolves. For example, patches of white fur appeared on the head and chest; jaws and teeth shrank; and tails formerly straight began to curl. After just thirty generations the foxes had become so tame that they could be kept as pets. Lyudmila Trut, a geneticist who had worked with Belyaev on the project and who ran it after his death, described the foxes as “docile, eager to please, and unmistakably domesticated.”—Haidt, referencing Trut.
Trut, L. N. 1999. “Early Canid Domestication: The Farm Fox Experiment.” American Scientist 87:160–69.
A Russian scientist who made progress despite the repressive nature of the country he had to live in.
Cultural and instinctive knowledge
Tuesday 14 March
“The main tool was a teardrop-shaped hand axe, and its symmetry and careful crafting jump out at us as something new under the sun, something made by minds like ours (see figure 9.2). This seems like a promising place to start talking about cumulative culture. But here’s the weird thing: Acheulean tools are nearly identical everywhere, from Africa to Europe to Asia, for more than a million years. There’s hardly any variation, which suggests that the knowledge of how to make these tools may not have been passed on culturally. Rather, the knowledge of how to make these tools may have become innate, just as the “knowledge” of how to build a dam is innate in beavers.”
Jonathan Haidt writes that, referencing:
“Richerson and Boyd 2005 makes this point. Cultural artifacts almost never show such stability across time and space. Think, for example, about swords and teapots, which fill museum cases because cultures are so inventive in the ways they create objects that fulfill the same basic functions.”
Richerson, P. J., and R. Boyd. 1998. “The Evolution of Human Ultra-Sociality.” In Indoctrinability, Ideology, and Warfare: Evolutionary Perspectives, ed. I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt and F. K. Salter, 71–95. New York: Berghahn.
Tuesday 14 March
In nature, physical shadows are created when light is blocked. Psychological shadows are created when awareness is blocked.
“The Shadow” is a metaphor used to describe any parts of ourselves we are ashamed to admit or afraid to encounter. Some people have a creativity shadow—they think they should always be practical. Others have an anger shadow—they think they should always be nice.
You might be so worried about people thinking you’re selfish that you neglect your own needs and desires. Or maybe you hide your talents because you feel afraid of judgment and criticism.—Britt Frank
(The shadow traces back to Carl Jung obviously, who I think I dislike for being hopelessly unscientific.)
Peter kiekt Anne bewerkt
Sunday 12 March
In transposing photos to somewhat clumsy black and white drawing like pictures I try to go beyond the particularity of the originals. Additionally, I just like black and white.
Thursday 9 March
I heard for the first time Hokkien Chinese, as spoken in Taiwan, in a pop #song. I don’t think I heard Hokkien Chinese earlier while being conscious of it. I was surprised how much more close the pronunciation of certain words is to Sino-Japanese. For example, in this phrase:
I seem to hear
tei sekai ... shi — all very close to Japanese.
I asked OpenAI to transcribe it:
Tī sè-kài an-tsìng ê sî.
Listening again, yeah 佇 sounds more like /ti/ than /te:/ and 安静 because (I think) early Japanese had no closing /ng/ sound is different. And 的 is different, but that is no surprise at all.
shi are completely different form Mandarin and yet very close to Japanese.
Also a touching song, especially for me with my dad being almost eighty-eight.
Warning: the video shows a somewhat animal unfriendly pig farm (I wonder what Taiwanese think about that, and how consciously it was included in the video).
When I tried to use OpenAI to transcribe more it was unable to do that reliably. I gave a few thumbs down and gave up.
I’ve located two online Hokkien Chinese | Taiwanese dictionaries:
With these I could check that OpenAI failed at transcribing reliably.
Omniglot has page about transcriptions and such:
Looking better at more words made me realize that Taiwanese words sounding like Japanese are much less common than I - for a moment - dared to hope. I’m not surprised. I still like how Taiwanese sounds quite different from Mandarin, but that’s very subjective and even arbitrary of course.
Would you guess
/hiaⁿ-tī / is
kyoudai/ (兄弟)? I wouldn’t. ;-)
Religion is not always a crutch
Wednesday 15 February
Anecdotal impression: religion should be a crutch, a support system. And yet, it seems to me that especially religious people suffer when confronted with loss and adversity.
I’ve seen christian guilt like: “Why am I being punished—I must be a horrible person.” Or: “I must have done something horrible to deserve such punishment.” Or more generally “why” questions. “Why does God allow X?” Etc.
It seems to me like seeing that lions eat zebras alive, seeing how horrible that is, but refusing to accept the fundamental amorality of most of the animal kingdom (and by extension the universe). Not acknowledging that evolution through natural selection is blind and without purpose. Not acknowledging that morality is limited to the human domain (often with in-group-out-group exceptions) and perhaps a few other social animals.
Wishful thinking and the disappointment when those wishes don’t come through.
Some religious people keep repeating the mantra: God has a plan, God has a plan. Or cling to the idea of being reunited in heaven. But in less traditional societies and minds that doesn’t work. Doubt sets in. And adds torment instead of support. Does religion as a rule only work as long as the setbacks are relatively small?
Friday 27 January
I came across a warning sign (see the picture) which had the (for me) new word 学童. The meaning is completely clear from the context, but I was not 100% certain about its pronunciation. Nevertheless I guessed its pronunciation correctly. Looking up its meaning confirmed what the context had already made clear: 小学校に通って学ぶ児童. Funnily this definition also has also a word with 童, 児童. Go deeper! Well, 児童 is defined as: 年少の人間。子供 ... and a bunch more specific definitions for 児童.
I asked OpenAI: What is the etymology of the word 年少?
The word 年少 (
niánshào) is composed of two characters: 年 (
nián) meaning “year” and 少 (
shào) meaning “few”. Together, they form the phrase “few years”, which is used to refer to someone’s youth or young age.
Yeah, sure. So 少 is used as a predicate?
Japanese would be straightforward: 年数が少ない.
I can’t get DeepL or TG to give me something like 年数が少ない in Chinese. I did get 他没有多少年 (
tā méiyǒu duōshào nián) which has 多少 before 年 or 一些年 (
yīxiē nián), also the wrong order. Maybe in Classical Chinese?
益之相禹也，歷年少，施澤於民未久。That Yi assisted Yu only for a few years, and had not long conferred benefits on the people.
Coming back to 童, how did I know its reading was ドウ? I thought of the word 鐘 “bell” en deduced from that トウ, but when I checked that later, its Sino-Japanese reading turned out to be ショウ, not ドウ, so I was right because I was wrong! What’s going on?
Something like the following must have happened. 童 is mostly a reliable phonetic, and it’s even the same phonetic as 重 as in 動. I must have seen it in other composite graphs or compound words. While 鐘 (most frequently read with its Japanese reading かね) came to my mind firstly, my brain (had) wrongly (sloppily) attributed that graph with the more common Sino-Japanese ドウ that 童 has. Probably I had encountered a word like 児童 earlier, but while my brain did remembered the on-yomi, it for some reason found it easier to recall 鐘. (What a mess.)
Wednesday 11 January
I find Turkish interesting. I’ve almost finished a 300 page introduction course (half grammar half conversation texts). I’m switching to YouTube’s Easy Turkish series to train my brain more in the sound of the language and picking up more vocabulary and idiom.
I’ve purchased a second hand copy of a 3rd edition Redhouse New Turkish-English Dictionary to supplement Wiktionary. It looks pretty new—no actually gorgeous.
I also have an old grammar by G. L. Lewis.
The version of Redhouse that I’ve got seems very good. But Wiktionary is not bad either. Wiktionary often adds etymology, which often points to Arabic, which is rather distracting for someone who’s interested in that language as well.
There has been a huge language reform in Turkish to purge it from Arabic, Persian and more, but a lot still remains. Which is cool by me. I like how I can discover Chinese in Japanese and Arabic in Turkish.
So here’s a fragment from Easy Turkish: Söyle aslında boş vakitlerde ben genelde resim çizmeyi çok seviyorum. The second word (aslında, “actually”) already comes from Arabic, ʾaṣl, (ground, origin, foundation, basic rule, root—etc. in Wiktionary). Also fun to input the root in qurantools.mst.edu.au and see where the word is used in the Qur'an (Quran,Koran)
إِنَّهَا شَجَرَةٌ تَخْرُجُ فِىٓ أَصْلِ ٱلْجَحِيمِ
innahā shajaratun takhruju fī aṣli l‑jaḥīmi
That is a tree that rises in the root of Hellfire.
What tree is that? The tree of Zaqqūm.
Wikipedia: The fruits of Zaqqum are shaped like heads of devils (Qur'an 37:62-68). Some Islamic scholars believe in a literal meaning of this tree grown in fire, showing the inverted flora of hell. The inhabitants of hell are forced to eat the tree's fruits, which tears their bodies apart and releases bodily fluids as a punishment.
Yeah, that’s the Qur'an alright.
Development in taste
Saturday 7 January
Everybody has their own development in taste with regard to [food, clothing, interior design, art, music, etc]. Sometimes this matters hardly at all other times it leads to very different sensibilities and preferences. When I read this back it seems like a trivial hypothesis/observation (ignoring that not everything is relative sure there are universals as well—not going into that now).
In traditional societies there were less striking differences, in modern times capitalism advances paradoxically both mono-culture sometimes spanning many countries continents or even the entire globe and at the same time countless small niche subcultures that often exclude each other. I see both. Interiors that suddenly all have the same old look furniture for example. New musical styles that everybody seems to sing or hum to another example. Clothing fashion is of course beyond obvious everybody even adults wearing those insipid ripped jeans that hurt my eyes all the time is yet another example.
Sometimes I’m bored by the mono-culture, more often I’m amazed by the differences. For example, not one of my coworkers seem to share musical tastes among themselves. Except to some extend we can all agree which songs in the background music are bad, really bad, passable, enjoyable or even good—the reason for this of course that we all have been inescapably indoctrinated by back ground music, even if we don’t listen to it at home simply by being exposed to it for so many hours day in day out.
On rare occasions I even adopt a song I heard in BGM. Latest Burning, by The Whitest Boy Alive.
Kusumoto Ine and her mother; also, a Dutch sailing ship at Dejima, Japan
Friday 6 January
By 川原慶賀 Kawahara Keiga. I was intrigued by the seemingly red headed baby. I guessed it could be a depiction of 楠本イネ (Kusumoto Ine) with her mother 楠本瀧 (Kusumoto Taki). Her father was the German scholar Philipp Franz von Siebold. 楠本イネ later pursued a successful career in medicine.
According to Wikipedia it was her indeed, but the red hair may have been a exaggeration since her hair seems to have been brown (the depicted westerners have in fact also this hair color in the picture; maybe it’s supposed to be brown).
There are lots of interesting details in the picture, considering it dates back to the early 1800s.
I wanted to use it on my photo archive QR, but was unable to find a somewhat accurate date (Wikipedia had:
date: 1811 - 1842, years of Keiga's employment for Dejima). Later I realized I could date it more accurately from the birth year of Kusumoto Ine (if she was about 2 years the date must have been ca. 1829).